Matt Hummel, Thomson Reuters’ Director of Marketing, provided tips to help marketers become more agile than ever before during his keynote presentation at the 2018 Marketing & Technology Innovation in Financial Services Forum in Boston on September 27. In his presentation, “Demand Gen 2.0: Built for Today. Build for Tomorrow,” Hummel offered insights to help marketers optimize their demand generation efforts both now and in the future.
The definition of demand generation often varies based on the business and its marketing team. In some instances, demand generation is viewed solely as the methods and techniques used to engage a company’s target audience. Yet marketers must use demand generation as the basis for their everyday operations. Otherwise, marketers may struggle to determine which methods and techniques to use to help a company consistently drive meaningful results.
“A lot of people view demand generation as a series of tactics … but we need to start by building a house and making it a home,” Hummel stated.
At Thomson Reuters, Hummel and his team initially prioritized lead generation. However, Thomson Reuters needed to revamp its focus so it could effectively engage its target audience. As a result, Thomson Reuters shifted its focus toward demand generation – something that proved to be exceedingly valuable for the business.
“We needed to shift from lead gen to demand gen,” Hummel said. “We started to do this by defining our mission.”
After establishing a clear-cut demand generation mission and goals, Hummel and his team brainstormed ways to engage Thomson Reuters’ target audience and build long-lasting customer partnerships. Hummel and his team then put their plan into action and tracked their results over time.
“Think about where you want to get to, and then, you can start to think about how you will get there,” Hummel indicated.
Hummel involved Thomson Reuters’ leaders in the development and launch of the company’s demand generation strategy, too.
Originally, Hummel found that there was a disconnect between Thomson Reuters’ marketing and business leadership teams. To eliminate this gap, Hummel prioritized collaboration and communication between these teams. By explaining his team’s challenges to Thomson Reuters’ business leaders, Hummel was able to get the support he needed to drive business improvement.
“I was meeting with business leaders, and all I was hearing was frustration,” Hummel pointed out. “The business thought that marketing was supposed to do everything and turn on a dime [as needed].”
Furthermore, Hummel sought to maintain alignment between Thomson Reuters’ marketing and business leadership teams. With these teams in lockstep, both could work together to establish business priorities and accelerate the company’s growth.
“We needed to understand the business’ priorities, and some of those conversations [previously] never happened,” Hummel noted. “There was a complete disconnect, but when [marketing and business] aligned, it made a huge difference.”
Having marketing professionals who understand the ins and outs of demand generation is key for any business, regardless of its size or industry. By dedicating time and resources to find demand generation experts, a company could boost the likelihood of accomplishing its immediate and long-term goals.
“My team is the most important thing for my success and the success of the [marketing] function,” Hummel stated. “I knew I needed someone who could do demand gen really well [on my team].”
Also, hiring consultants sometimes is beneficial, particularly for companies that are competing with industry rivals to add top talent.
Consultants enable a business to fill gaps in its talent base with minimal commitment. Plus, consultants offer comprehensive experience and expertise and can help a company quickly discover the best ways to enhance its demand generation efforts.
“Don’t be afraid to outsource,” Hummel said. “Outsourcing has been really important to us because it has allowed us … to accelerate some of the things that we are doing and fill in some of those nuanced talents that are hard to hire in a full-time capacity.”
Marketers should devote time and resources to analyze all aspects of their demand generation processes and systems. That way, marketers can identify improvement areas and map out their demand generation efforts accordingly.
In addition, marketers should understand that the demand generation efforts of one business may vary greatly from those of another. If marketers establish a realistic demand generation mission and goals, they can take a step-by-step to achieve the optimal results. Perhaps best of all, these marketers will possess the agility they need to adjust their day-to-day efforts, thereby ensuring that their respective businesses can keep pace in a rapidly evolving global marketplace.
“We looked at every [demand generation] process … and created a playbook that is a living, breathing document,” Hummel pointed out. “There is no silver bullet in demand gen … but if you don’t have a foundation [for demand gen], then everything is an exception.”